People who worked in illegal mines sit in the trunk of a car on their way to town as they arrive in Porto do Arame after leaving Yanomami indigenous land, Alto Alegre, Roraima State, Brazil (Image: Reuters)
Federal police investigate deadly clash between miners and natives in Yanomami territory
The Brazilian government assured the Yanomami people on Sunday that it would redouble its efforts to clear the remaining savage miners from the reserve following the shooting death of a member of the indigenous community.
Gold diggers killed one man and seriously injured two others in an attack on Saturday in Yanomami territory, where authorities expelled illegal miners who invaded Brazil’s largest indigenous reservation, the size of the Portugal.
“We will continue the operation to remove all the minors who are still there illegally,” Indigenous Peoples Minister Sonia Guajajara told the GloboNews television channel.
She said about 80% of the more than 20,000 gold diggers who invaded the reserve had been evicted, and those still there were resisting their eviction more violently.
“They have to understand that they have to leave and that the state will not back down from their expulsion,” Environment Minister Marina Silva said in the same interview.
“We will step up the operation,” she said, adding that the armed forces could be deployed to complete the job.
She said 300 mining camps had been dismantled, and 20 planes and a helicopter destroyed by agents of the environmental protection agency Ibama.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pledged when he took office in January to expel the miners, whose presence has caused a humanitarian crisis by spreading disease and causing malnutrition among the Yanomami by reducing their game and poisoning the rivers.
A full-scale crackdown was launched in February and most miners started to leave or were forced to leave.
Federal police said they were investigating the clash between the miners and the natives and working to find and arrest those responsible for the shooting.
Lula has pledged zero tolerance for mining on constitutionally protected indigenous lands and the environmental protection agency is planning eviction operations at five other reserves when illegal logging and mining has increased under former President Jair Bolsonaro.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)